Salento, COLOMBIA - Volunteer


Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle​ in May 2017

It’s the owner of my little guesthouse in Salento, a small Colombian village known for its coffee estates and verdant scenery, who advised me to go and meet Romelia. She was pretty easy to find as she spends all her time caring for disabled elderly people in a big house that she manages. Romelia is 78 years old. It’s been more than 30 years that she cares for elderly people and she doesn’t seem ready to stop. Romelia is this kind of holy woman, with a truly deep heart and only happy when she can help others.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be someone important. A responsible mother.


With whom would you like to have a coffee?

With whoever, so with those who are here


If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be? 

They should learn to respect their parents and take care to them. Besides, they should learn to be honest and responsible. I would love that and I would teach a lot about these values.


To you, what’s that main characteristic that all human being have in common?

I think that the best thing would be that people were welcoming towards each other by acting and speaking kindly.


To you, who is the happiest person on earth?

The one who does things well.


If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?

I would give the opportunity to people to have official documents. And also try to better manage the money.


What do you need?

I need to be in a good health in order to help others.


What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?

I would pay my debts then I would share with someone who needs it.


Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?

An innovation? No, thank you.


What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?

Violence affects me the most, be it corruption or violence against children. I often think about that. Also, the incapacity of the government to provide us a worthy life. I think violence comes from politics. People


Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?

It’s more difficult because everything has changed. We lived in a farm with my parents and everything was easier because there wasn’t corruption at this time. Nowadays, it’s all about corruption.


If you had to create a company, what would it be?

This company would give jobs to people who never had the opportunity to work.


Can you draw something beautiful?

It’s important to think all the time about nature, trees and plants which give us oxygen.

Can you sing something beautiful?

Ah! You better praise God because I won’t sing.


What are you afraid of?

I’m afraid that some people try to cheat me, that some businesses try to take my money. I’m afraid when people lie.


What is your dream?

My dream is to continue living well a few more years and that my children have a good life. Just to be happy. I love peace.


Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?

I see light. What more? I can see my beloved ones who are coming here with us.


What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?

The most beautiful thing that I’ve seen is the birth of a child. To me it’s something wonderful.


If you had to write a book about the current world, what would you be the title?

How difficult it is to understand others.


Who is God for you?

The most important. Without God, we are nothing.


Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of?

The fact that here we all know each other and help each other.


If you could do any job regardless of money, what would you do?

But I’m already doing that. Helping others [Laughs]. Because we are not paid here, we are volunteer without expectation of any kind of compensation.


If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?

I can’t say because I don’t know this alien.


And you, which question would you like to ask to the world?

I would ask if people are happy about the way their country is managed. If they have access to good health infrastructure. Because here we have nothing.